Celebrating the publication of his essay collection, I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts: Drive-By Essays on American Dread, American Dreams cultural critic and cult author Mark Dery will lecture—with unforgettable slides—on the hallucinatory Crypt of the Capuchin monks in Rome, the uncanny wax mannequins at La Specola in Florence, and the 19th-century Chinese artist Lam Qua’s paintings of patients with eye-poppingly bizarre tumors, which so fascinated Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. that he wrote an article exhorting all “worshippers of morbid anatomy” to see the paintings, a textbook example of what Holmes called “the pathological sublime.”
Mark Dery is a cultural critic. He is best known for his writings on the politics of popular culture in books such as The Pyrotechnic Insanitarium: American Culture on the Brink, Escape Velocity: Cyberculture at the End of the Century, Flame Wars, and Culture Jamming. He has been a professor of journalism at New York University, a Chancellor’s Distinguished Fellow at the University of California, Irvine, and a visiting scholar at the American Academy in Rome. His latest book, I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts, is “a head-spinning intellectual ride through American dreams and American nightmares” and will be available at his Cornelia Street Observatory engagement. He is writing a biography of the artist Edward Gorey for Little, Brown. (thoughtcatalog.com/author/mark-dery).
Observatory is an art and events space in the Gowanus neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. Founded in February 2009 by a group of seven artists and writers, the space seeks to present programming inspired by the eighteenth-century notion of “rational amusement.” Observatory is especially interested in topics residing at the interstices of art and science, history and curiosity, and magic and nature. Part of the Proteus Gowanus arts complex, Observatory hosts frequent screenings, lectures, classes, and exhibitions.
$10.00 includes a drink